June 7 and 8 were the start of centennial season in the area, with the city of Dodge celebrating its 100th birthday. The event also marked an officially sanctioned event for the state's 125th birthday party, since the celebration found sponsorship earlier this year from the North Dakota Historical Society.
The city was first named Dodge after a suggestion was made by the man promoting the town-site in honor of the man who bought it. George W. Dodge, a banker from Minnesota, purchased the town-site and established Dodge State Bank in 1915.
Although the name was officially adopted, the residents of the area would have rather it be named Loring, after a post office three miles distant.
In 1914 the Northern Pacific reached the city. After the rail line and bank were built, then the Louis Kamins store was added and a building that housed the Dodge Dispatch, which operated from 1916 to 1921. What followed included grocery stores, a general store, a hotel, meat markets, garage, real estate office, implement shops, lumberyards, hardware stores, banks, cream station, telephone exchange, livery and a pool hall. Additionally, a grain elevator and underground mine also started operations.
By the early 1920s, a school had been built which boasted 137 pupils by 1925. The 1930s, as for many places, were shaped by the Great Depression. Residents relied heavily on the train for both cargo and travel. An auditorium was built that offered a place for social gatherings.
City pool opening delayed
With every effort by Dan Frei and the Parks and Recreation Department and Associated Pools being given to meet the goal of opening June 14, construction progress was thwarted when engineers found a problem under the entire pool deck area.
According to Frei, engineers said the clay under the deck was causing cracks. In essence, when the frost got deep into the ground, it froze the clay and caused a buckling and cracking scenario.
Seeking a solution, Frei was told the only answer was to dig up the entire deck and shovel out the clay, replacing it with sand that would not freeze, thus eliminating the buckling and cracking.
Because of this change in plans, Frei is cautiously optimistic the pool may be open by the Fourth of July. At this point, however, July 4 is only a target date.
"The engineers didn't like our soil," Frei said. "They want us to pull out five feet of dirt around the deck and replace it with expandable sand. We knew there were some issues under the decks but we did not anticipate this kind of problem."
The new work will cost taxpayers $60,000 because the money for the pool construction was approved by voters who agreed to a one-half percent increase in sales tax to fund the original $600,000 project.
Playing in the dirt, connecting with land
Kids love to get dirty.
So when the New Town Head Start Program has a chance to teach small children lessons about the land, plants, and their culture, letting them get dirty in a garden seems like a no-brainer. That's why at last week's Head Start graduation ceremony, every child also planted a Mandan corn seedling in the center's garden on Ninth Street in New Town.
The Head Start program received a grant from the NDSU Fort Berthold Extension Service to purchase eight raised bed gardens to teach children about where their food comes from and to encourage a healthy diet.
According to Extension Agent Elise Regan, each of the four Head Start classes, Tiny Tots, Four Feathers, Black Lodge and Little Lodge, have two of the raised beds where they had their choice to plant a butterfly garden, pizza garden, Native American garden or vegetable garden. Two beds were also donated to the Head Start program in Mandaree. Regan said native elder Mike Cross was part of the stimulus of the gardening project.
"Mike is interested in working with the young kids to promote some of the traditional knowledge and interest in gardening," Regan said. "He was the one who proposed doing gardens at the Head Start."
Cross also helped create a corn patch alongside the raised bed gardens where the young people could plant the native corn seedlings.
"Our garden looks nice," Cross said. "There are choices you make in educating children and so many opportunities here on Fort Berthold, I always thought Head Start was the perfect place to do this. At three or four years old, those memories last all your life and you reflect on those when you get older. A lot of us like to remember our earliest recollections. For a lot of us, that is being out working in the garden."
New Town News
Idiot on the Prairie to perform at Relay
McLean County's own "Idiot on the Prairie" will be returning to the stage on Friday, June 13, to entertain the crowd attending the Relay For Life activities in Underwood, performing two sets starting at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at Comet Field.
Diane Eslinger, a farm wife, mom, nurse and cancer survivor who lives with her husband, Allan, on a farm between Underwood and Coleharbor, first took to the stage with her comedy routine last spring, performing at the Underwood's Got Talent Show. She took home first place and started on what could be a new career.
"Friends that know me say I've been priming for this my whole life," she said. "They always say I can tell stories, and I can make people laugh."
Eslinger recently performed her first paid gig since last spring's win, performing to a dinner crowd at the Harbor Bar in Coleharbor, where audience members were actually turned away because there was no room for them.
"I was shocked," said Eslinger. "I thought a few of my friends were going to come, and they had standing-room-only, and people that couldn't get in and had to leave, which really caught me off guard."
City supports welcome sign
The City of Garrison backs a proposal by the Garrison Chamber of Commerce to erect a sign on the west edge of Garrison, welcoming people to the community. The council took it one step further, supporting installing a similar sign on the east edge of Garrison.
At the regular monthly council meeting, Chamber President Marty Dahl asked the council's permission to install a sign near the pump station on the west edge of Garrison. "It would be a welcome sign to the city," he said.
The chamber's Executive Committee has been researching welcome signs since the first of the year, brainstorming ideas, and more recently, receiving proposals from sign companies.
At its most recent meeting, the committee agreed on a design that features an outline of the State of North Dakota and silhouette of Lake Sakakawea. Garrison is highlighted by a star. Home of Wally the Walleye would adorn the bottom of the sign, with the word Garrison in larger letters across the top. The sign would be lit.
McLean County Independent
Council discusses centennial plans
The Parshall City Council is ready to party.
One of the main topics of discussion at the regular meeting of the Parshall City Council June 4 was the preparations for the upcoming Parshall Centennial Celebration. Among the tasks outlined by City Public Works Director Al Christianson is the mounting of American flags and Centennial banners on the light poles on Main Street. Christianson said all of the potholes on Main Street should be repaired this week and then new striping would be painted on the street.
He also pointed out that the city needs to contact Otter Tail Power to replace some burned out bulbs in some of the street lights and that some of the lights may need attention from an electrician to get working again. In a side note, former city auditor and AE2S Engineering consultant Loren Hoffman noted that the city streetlights were installed in the 1960s and should be replaced as part of the city's planned 2015 Main Street upgrade.
City Council member Tom Huus also asked Christianson to identify city owned lots where people can park campers during the Centennial and make sure they are cleaned up and mowed. While there won't be any water or electricity available on those lots, the vacant lots will allow some visitors to attend the celebration without searching for a place to park out of town. Parking on the city lots will be first come, first serve.
Huus and Christianson also discussed the possibility of having one of the local aerial applicators spray the town for mosquitoes so the street dances will be more enjoyable. Christianson said he will see if any of the local operators will be able to take the job.
The city also approved special permits for outdoor and off site alcohol sales for the Saddle Rack and Alley Cat bars for various events during the Centennial Celebration.
Mountrail County Record